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Creamy Pickled Beets Risotto Recipe

Ryan Thomas is a university graduate who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.

Risotto with creamy pickled beets

Risotto with creamy pickled beets

Beet Risotto Recipe

Beets are a sadly underutilized food in my part of the United States. I cannot remember having beets a single time in my childhood; they're simply not part of the typical diet in my region.

What a shame! When pickled, beets have such a wonderful mixture of sweet and tangy, a nice mellowness, and a very tender and appealing texture. I can eat them on their own and enjoy the experience.

But they also make a great component of other recipes, and one of my favorite ones so far is a beet risotto recipe. This is not only incredibly simple and easy to make—perhaps 30 minutes of cooking all told if you work efficiently—but it is delightful to eat. There is the savory taste of onions and garlic, the sweetness of beets, and the salty creamy addition of Parmesan cheese. The flavors build and meld in a wonderful combination, and it looks beautiful too—especially with some nice garnishes on top.

I adapted this recipe from Food and Wine Annual Cookbook 2010: An Entire Year of Recipes, a new favorite recipe book of mine.


  • 1 (12-ounce) jar pickled beets
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar pickled beets, cut into strips
  • 3 cups rice
  • 4 ounces Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • Sliced cucumber, for garnish


  1. In a large casserole or Dutch oven, sautée the onion and garlic in olive oil over high heat for 5 minutes until it starts to brown. In a separate saucepan, warm up the chicken stock over medium heat.
  2. Add in the strips of beets and half of the regular pickled beets slices, along with all of the juice, preserving the other half for later use. Sauté for a few minutes more. Then add in the rice.
  3. Add in the chicken stock, 1 cup at a time, until the rice starts to become soft, fluffy, and al dente. Then add in the 4 ounces of Parmesan cheese, and stir until all combined.
  4. Continue to cook slightly more over the stovetop, season with salt and pepper, then add on garnishes such as cilantro leaves or sliced cucumber, and serve. Good side dishes include salads, vegetables, bread, cheese, etc.